Seven killed in Israel as train hits minibus

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Media captionThe minibus and passenger train collided near Kiryat Gat in southern Israel

Seven people have been killed and 20 injured in a collision between a high-speed passenger train and a minibus near the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

The minibus was hit at 1905 (1605 GMT) on Route 353, apparently as it tried to cross a level crossing in Kiryat Gat.

All the dead - including a pregnant woman and two children - and injured were travelling in the minibus, which

The minibus apparently broke a barrier rail, Israeli Railways said.

Regional military commander Maj-Gen Yohanan Danino said there was evidence the minibus had "crossed into a forbidden place".

Injured people were evacuated by helicopter to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon and Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheba.

'Pulverised'

Yitzhak Harel, head of Israel Railways, said the train had applied its brakes but had been unable to stop, the Jerusalem Post reports.

"The minibus driver just came at high speed, I do not know why, all the warning systems were working," he said.

One train passenger quoted by Haaretz newspaper said: "We heard a boom.

"Suddenly the train started to slow and there was a burning smell. We got out and what we saw was horrible - the minibus was simply pulverised.

"We couldn't believe what we were seeing, some of the passengers on the train had no idea what was happening."

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